Thursday, January 31, 2013

The prospect of February always seems daunting – the coldest, greyest of months, it seems predisposed to being an emotional minefield. For Ashley Gibson, you add in the anniversary of your mother’s death and it seems like the bleakest of months. But out of something bleak, Ashley has created something inspiring and beautiful, with her first solo cabaret show, LIFE IS SWEET, EVEN IN FEBRUARY, both honouring her mother’s memory, and benefiting the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

LIFE IS SWEET, EVEN IN FEBRUARY is a solo cabaret show on February 22nd at 9:30pm, with Ashley singing a number of songs that her mom enjoyed, and sharing stories from her own life, about the impact of mental illness and her journey back after her mom’s suicide.  Ashley’s been open about her mother’s suicide, and how it’s affected her. It’s inspiring that someone has made an effort to share that part of themselves, fighting the stigma of mental illness and letting everyone dealing with mental illness, loss, depression, anxiety, to let all of them know:  “You are not alone”.

Mental health is something which affects us all – when 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime, the odds are you or someone in your life is dealing with mental illness. We don’t always talk about it, we don’t necessarily know how to recognize, or know how to help. But, through the work of people like Ashley, we can have these conversations and end the stigma of mental health. We can move forward, together.

In addition to the show, Gibson will be featuring a number of guest writers on her blog who will write about their experiences with mental illness, depression, and loss – 
“Over the month of February I will be hosting blog posts from friends, family and bloggers who will be sharing their personal accounts of experience with mental illness, depression, anxiety and loss. I am so proud of all of these people for sharing their stories, and believe that in the act of sharing we will truly confirm that no one is alone. I've utilized my network to also include posts from practitioners on strategies for dealing with mental illness, as well as posts on working through challenges in life and finding the light and love in all of it. “
I’ve been lucky enough to meet Ashley through my Loser Karaoke group, and she always lights up the room when she sings. Her outlook is infectious, moving, and I’m proud to know her. Buy a ticket, take part in something special, and you’ll be lucky too.

In the greyest of days, Ashley shares an outlook I admire: life can be sweet. Yes, even in February.


Learn more about Ashley's #lifeissweet month on her blog - or by following her on Twitter -@ashleydtl

Life is Sweet, Even in February
Produced and performed by Ashley Gibson, Music Direction by Tara Litvack
February 22, 2013 – 9:30PM
The Flying Beaver Pubaret
488 Parliament Street – Toronto, ON
Tickets: $15 in advance / $20 at the door
Tickets are available at the Flying Beaver Pubaret or online at

 Facebook event page - Life Is Sweet, Even in February